State Arts Council Awards First-of-its-Kind Contract to Support Small Nonprofit Arts Organizations Across California

California Arts Council

A Message From California Arts Council:

The California Arts Council announced that it has awarded a one-year, $500,000 contract to an arts organization that will provide payroll and paymaster services at low cost to small nonprofit arts organizations (SNPAOs), which contribute cultural and economic opportunities in communities throughout the state.

Californians for the Arts will provide paymaster and payroll services so that small nonprofits can access administrative services without the fees that many paymaster companies charge, which can drive the employment premium for California nonprofits as high as 30 percent.

“Small nonprofit arts organizations enrich communities across California in countless ways and this new service will further assist them and their talented staff to continue their invaluable work,” said Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez of Fresno, chair of the California Arts Council. “I want to thank Governor Gavin Newsom and Senator Susan Rubio for advancing this important support for the arts in California.”

Julie Baker, executive director of Californians for the Arts, said she is looking forward to helping SNPAOs utilize payroll and paymaster services because these small nonprofit arts organizations need new tools to create and preserve opportunities for performers and people in the performing arts sector, particularly workers in marginalized communities.

The mission of SNPAOs is to make theater accessible through low ticket prices and free services, but most of these organizations cannot cover the costs of production and administration through tickets sales alone and must, on average, raise funds to cover 40 to 60 percent of the costs of each production. Each SNPAO creates an average of 64 jobs annually for a cumulative average of 121,436 jobs created by the sector each year.

“It’s a win-win solution,” said Chair Gonzáles-Chávez. “SNPAOs present stories that resonate with and reflect the community, the artists, and the social context of the times. But because of historic undercapitalization of community-based arts and the effects of prolonged shutdowns due to COVID-13, SNPAOs have had to reduce the number of people they hire and the number of programs they offer. Providing them administrative relief will help immensely.”